How to Eat Banana Flowers

Posted by Staff Writer on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 at 12:25pm.

All longtime Maui residents know how abundantly bananas grow on island, but did you know that you can eat more than just the fruit?

As the name suggests, banana flowers are the blossoms on banana trees that would otherwise develop into bananas. But like the mature fruit, banana blossoms are entirely edible.

Edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine, which works to bring communities together to learn about healthy food and sustainability, recently wrote about how eat the blossoms. Almost all modern edible bananas come from two wild species: Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, but the fruit’s size, color and firmness varies, according to the magazine.

The flowers all grow in clusters hanging from the top of the plant. To eat the flower, you must first remove the dark purplish-red outer petal known as the “bract,” which can be cleaned and then used as a serving plate. Once that outer portion is removed, you can start removing the light-yellow tip of the banana flowers to reveal the delicate inner flower.

It doesn’t taste quite like a banana, but does have a similar aromatic profile that’s much for subtle. That fruit can then be chopped and added to soups, curries and stir fries, or eaten raw in salads or by itself. Essentially, you can use them like any other green.

Be aware that the banana flower will turn brown or black if it’s left out for a while, so don’t peel back the outer layer until you’re ready to use them.

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